The Effects of Music of Work Habits

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Updated on May 24, 2013

Grade Level: 7th - 10th; Type: Psychology

To find out whether music has an effect on a person’s ability to complete a simple task that requires concentration.

The purpose of this experiment is to find out how well a person can stay focused to complete a timed multiplication test while listening to music. Music selected by the participant, and classical music will both be tested during the trial.

  • Why does classical music help people concentrate?
  • How do people learn new things?
  • How do people remember things they have already learned?
  • What types of distractions can affect a person’s ability to concentrate?

Studies have suggested that listening to classical music while studying may improve a person’s ability to concentrate. Though some people will have more trouble concentrating with this type of distraction, many people find it easier to focus on their work for longer while listening to classical music. Most teens do not chose to listen to classical music when studying, however, instead choosing that they enjoy. Though this may make the studying process more enjoyable, it may provide a greater level of distraction and hamper a person’s ability to complete tasks.

  • Times Tables worksheets
  • 100-200 volunteers
  • An MP3 player
  • A timer


  1. Make enough copies of a times table worksheet so that each of your participants can have one.

  2. Load many different types of music onto an MP3 player, including some classical music.

  3. Work in a quiet room with each participant separately.

  4. Alternate between subjects so that the same number are allowed to select their own music, are given a classical track to listen to and are asked to work in quiet. If a subject has their own MP3 player they can use their own music. If not, they can select a song from the MP3 player you have provided.

  5. Start the music if your subject is listening to music.

  6. Start the timer and give your subject 60 seconds to get as much of the worksheet done as he or she can.

  7. Record whether they chose their own music, listened to classical music, or worked in silence on their test.

  8. Repeat steps 5-7 with each volunteer (you will want to run the test with at least 100 participants).

  9. Grade the tests.

  10. Record the number correct and the number left blank for each participant on a chart such as the one below.

  11. Find the average, range, median and mode of correct answers for participants who chose their own music.

  12. Find the average, range, median and mode of correct answers for participants who listened to classical music.

  13. Find the average, range, median and mode of correct answers for participants who worked in silence.

  14. Analyze your results.

Type of trail
Number correct
Number left blank
Chose own music



Chose own music



Chose own music

Terms/Concepts: Attention; Memory; Concentration; Distraction; Mean; Median; Mode


Writer and educator Crystal Beran is rarely seen without a pen. Her adventures have brought her to four continents and her quest for answers has led her to discover more questions than she could fill all the pages with. She currently resides in Northern California, where she can be found sipping tea and writing books.

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